Re: Word choice: Exceptions

Subject: Re: Word choice: Exceptions
From: Ben Kovitz <bkovitz -at- nethere -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002 14:09:39 -0700 (PDT)


Colleen MacKenzie wrote:

> Our web-based product displays errors and warnings upon submission of a
> form. The errors & warnings are displayed in a popup modal window that
> receives focus upon display. We are currently referring to this group of
> errors & warnings as "Exceptions." I'm not convinced that this is a
> common word that will be understood by non-technical users. Thoughts?

"Exception" is programmer jargon. It means an "exceptional" event from the
standpoint of program code, which has to be handled outside the normal flow of
the program. Exceptions are not necessarily errors, and errors are not
necessarily exceptions. It's a concept that has to do strictly with program
structure.

Not understandable by non-technical users? Damn right. Unless the users are
interested in the internals of the program, talking about exceptions sounds to
me like a goof that programmers often make when designing user interfaces:
talking about an inside-the-software domain to users whose concerns are
entirely in an outside-the-software domain.

--
Ben Kovitz
Author, Practical Software Requirements: A Manual of Content & Style
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1884777597
http://www.manning.com/Kovitz

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References:
Word choice: Exceptions: From: MacKenzie, Colleen

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